By Mike Strasser, West Point Public AffairsDecember 1, 2010
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 1, 2010) -- From helping establish the academy's first competitive Ultimate Frisbee team to molecular biology research, West Point Class of 2011 Cadet Jeremy Smith has accomplished much in his time at the academy.
The Grapevine, Texas, native recently added Marshall Scholar to his list of accolades. Since 1953, the Marshall Scholarship program provides students with two fully-funded years of study at any university in the United Kingdom and is applicable to any field of study. Approximately 40 students are selected annually.
"Winning this scholarship is a great honor for me," Smith said. "I owe so much to my friends and Family, and to the teachers and mentors who helped along the way."
His research on non-coding regulatory RNA sequences is one example of the exceptional level of research Smith has participated in while at West Point.
"During the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I worked at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the Winkler Laboratory on Molecular Biology," Smith said. "Our work focused on non-coding regulatory RNA sequences, which are a novel method of controlling or regulating biological life forms. The specific application of our research was a new method to counter anthrax."
Gus Lee, chair of character development at the Simon Center Professional Military Ethic, served as an adviser and mentor to Smith.
"Jeremy Smith consistently discerns his highest possible moral action. He then takes that action regardless of risk to self-interest, personal advancement or popularity," Lee said. "He exercises the hard virtue of true moral reasoning - the essential foundation upon which his intellectual and academic endeavors flourish. His ability to do this is unique in people with twice his age and experience. It has been an honor and a pleasure to observe him as a leader of character, as a comrade with moral courage and as a scholar-athlete of distinction."
Smith was also integral in establishing an Ultimate team within the Corps of Cadets. In April, they were the first academy team ever represented in Ultimate Players Association sectionals history.
"Putting together this team has been a multi-year process and owes a lot of its growth to the leadership of Firstie Ivan Cho and Dr. Stephen Finn (coach)," Smith said. "We've had an influx of talented cadets this past year and the development has been spectacular. With a little more training, West Point is going to be a force to be reckoned with on the national scene."
Smith's academic assignments often took him away from the fields of friendly strife and at times, far away from West Point to places like China and Kenya. Finn, assistant director at the Center for Teaching Excellence, said from a coach's perspective Smith proved to be a true leader among his peers.
"Jeremy is the kind of player that is a joy to coach. He is a strong competitor who does not let his competitiveness detract from his sportsmanship," Finn said. "He graciously accepts criticism and is eager to constantly improve his play, even though he is one of the more talented players on the team."
Smith, a Life Sciences major, will study Modern Epidemiology at Imperial College in London, and would like to pursue a medical degree in the future.
"Life Sciences definitely helps me reach that goal," Smith said. "I try to learn as much as I can about medicine, biotechnology and the human body as I can while preparing for medical school. I eventually want to work with bionics and help restore lost functions to our wounded warriors."
Smith was among 31 students selected for the 2011 Marshall Scholarship, according to the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission. West Point cadets have earned 34 Marshall Scholarships since 1982, the academy's first year competing for the awards. Smith will be commissioned as a second lieutenant and branch Engineer in the U.S. Army upon graduation from West Point in May.